Should the Boston Red Sox go after Chris Sale? And at what cost?

The Chicago White Sox are reportedly shopping the left-handed All-Star, asking for a bundle of major league-ready players and prospects in return.

Of course the price is high. Sale, 27, is 74-50 with a 3.00 ERA in his career and has three affordable years left on his contract ($39.5 million remaining).

With enough teams bidding, someone will offer too much. What would Chicago want from the Red Sox – maybe an everyday player (Jackie Bradley Jr.), a starter (Eduardo Rodriguez) and a top prospect (Michael Kopech) or two?

Deal or no deal?

Sale is tempting. You can justify the deal by saying Bradley is very good but expendable because Andrew Benintendi can move to center, his natural position. Sale would be an upgrade over Rodriguez, and Kopech is probably at least a year away from the majors, if he even makes it as a starter.


The deal can be easily turned down. Bradley is one of the supreme fielders in the game and had an .835 OPS last season. Rodriguez is only 23 and a star in the making, and Kopech may become the first ace the Red Sox have developed since Jon Lester.

The guess here is that the price is too high for a Red Sox team that has other needs, namely late-inning relief help and a big bat to replace the retired David Ortiz.

Boston currently has six starters: David Price, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.

That’s a pretty good group. Buchholz may be the odd one out, either traded or moved to a bullpen role. Keeping Buchholz around would make sense because the Red Sox have little depth.

After the six major leaguers, Boston has two starters, Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, with major league experience (and Johnson has only pitched one game, in 2015). Justin Haley is also slated for Pawtucket if he doesn’t get grabbed in the Rule 5 draft later this week.

Look for Boston to be signing more pitchers – minor league free agents who have some major league time.


ANTHONY RANAUDO is headed to Korea. The former Red Sox pitching prospect has signed with the Samsung Lions of the Korean professional league.

There was a time when Ranaudo was supposed to be the answer to Boston’s questionable history of developing starters. Drafted in 2010, Ranaudo moved through the Red Sox system, pitching in Portland in 2012 and 2013, when he was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. In 2014, Ranaudo pitched in Triple-A and was the International League Pitcher of the year.

But minor league success never transferred to the majors. He was traded to Texas in 2015 for Robbie Ross and traded again a year later to the White Sox. Chicago recently released him. In 20 major league appearances (14 starts), Ranaudo is 5-5 with a 7.01 ERA.

THE RULE 5 DRAFT will take place at the end of baseball’s winter meetings this week. Eligible players who are not on a team’s 40-man roster can be drafted and kept – as long as the player remains on a team’s 25-man major league roster for the entire season.

Last month the Red Sox protected relievers Kyle Martin and Luis Ysla by placing them on the 40-man roster. It’s possible Boston could lose Haley (8-6, 3.59 ERA in Pawtucket after being promoted from Portland). Haley is pitching in the Dominican Winter League (0.38 ERA).

Three other unprotected players are longshots to get drafted: catcher Jake Romanski (.308 average in Portland last year), outfielder Aneury Tavarez (.335 average in Portland) and pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz (4.71 ERA in Portland).


MINOR LEAGUE free agents are starting to sign with other clubs and the Red Sox have lost a few former Sea Dogs.

Henry Ramos was once an outfield prospect for the Red Sox, but injuries kept him from breaking out. He has signed with the Dodgers.

Pitcher William Cuevas, an Eastern League All-Star in 2015 who made his major league debut last year with Boston, is now with the Tigers.

Shortstop Jose Vinicio, who received a $2 million bonus as a teenager, signed with the White Sox.

Pitcher Keith Couch has not signed anywhere yet. He was 9-5 with a 3.84 ERA with Portland and will likely end up somewhere.

JASON VARITEK is still popular among fans. On Wednesday, the Portland Sea Dogs announced that Varitek will be the main guest at their Hot Stove Dinner on Jan. 13 at the Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland. By noon Thursday, the event was sold out.

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